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Death Valley Manhunt

Death Valley Manhunt(1943)

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After an illustrious career, U.S. Marshal Wild Bill Elliott decides to retire to a peaceful life of ranching. Bill's pal Gabby tries to interest him in going to Death Valley, where Gabby owns oil property, but Bill declines. Gabby travels on with his dog Teabone, and when he reaches town, he is met by his friend, Tex Benson, who warns him not to become involved with Richard Quinn, field manager for the Ross Petroleum Co. Tex's suspicions of Quinn are valid, for Quinn is secretly trying to ruin the smaller oilmen in order to perpetrate a stock swindle. When Quinn's henchmen attack Tex's well, Tex retaliates by taking equipment from Quinn's camp. Quinn persuades Judge Jim Hobart, who reluctantly works for him, to issue a warrant for Tex's arrest for stealing the equipment. Acting on Hobart's warrant, Marshal Hugh Ward tries to arrest Tex, but Tex, who is standing on the well rigging, accidentally kills the marshal when he orders him to drop his gun. Although all the witnesses know that Ward's death was an accident, Quinn asserts that it was murder and has Hobart issue another warrant for Tex. Fearful that Tex will not get a fair trial, Gabby breaks him out of jail, while at the Chicago office of the petroleum company, president Kingdon Ross hires Bill to investigate the situation. Bill goes to Death Valley, where he promises Gabby that Tex will get a fair trial. Bill is able to persuade Quinn to drop the charges, and then convinces him to finance the oilmen when they cannot extend their bank loans. Quinn is delighted with the situation, for if the ranchers cannot bring in their wells within thirty days, the rights revert to his company. Time passes as Bill courts Hobart's niece Nicky and the ranchers work on their wells. They become frustrated by Quinn's failure to deliver needed equipment, however, and begin to suspect that Bill is in league with him. Bill tries to persuade Gabby that he needs solid proof of Quinn's wrong-doing, but Gabby angrily accuses him of switching sides and leaves to get the equipment himself. Quinn's henchmen, Sid Roberts and deputies Blaine and Lawson, overturn Gabby's wagon during a chase, and although Teabone is killed, Gabby survives. Bill is able to identify Blaine as one of the attackers and allows him to think that Gabby is dead, after which Blaine confesses and implicates Quinn and Hobart. As Bill is confronting Hobart, who agrees to testify against Quinn, Quinn shoots Blaine, then goes with Roberts to Tex and Gabby's well, where they prepare to blast. Bill arrives and after besting Roberts, fights with Quinn. The men climb the oil rigging during their struggle, and Quinn falls to his death. He lands on the detonator, and the resulting explosion brings in the well. Soon after, Bill, Gabby and Nicky go to Chicago to see Ross, who rewards Bill with a deed to a valuable ranch and Gabby, with a new dog.